Greetings Dr. Dawson
A Christian all of my life as well as an avid bibliophile, I happened to read The Selfish Gene last month. Your wonderfully easy to understand and yet concise writing was a joy. I have just finished chapter 9 in my new copy of The God Delusion, which of course deals with childhood abuses, and I have just recalled a horrifying story that happened in my previous town of Easthampton, Massachusetts in the eighties. (I include that information should anyone choose to read the news accounts.)
The local Congregational church I attended at the time went to great lengths to sponsor a destitute and traumatized family from
Cambodia to come to the U.S.
The “reverend” Edward Dibble, a married pastor with lovely wife and two teenaged boys, worked tirelessly to provide this very large family (at least six young children?) with an apartment, employment, clothing, and fellowship amongst the congregation. Naturally the mother and father of this large brood, who spoke barely any English, thought of Dibble as a god… Their savior in every sense.
Some years later, the oldest son who by then was around fifteen, began acting out in school. This was wildly unusual for this boy…all of the family’s children were quiet and obedient. He was sent to the school counselor, who learned that the young man was beside himself because he’d recently learned that his youngest brother had become Dibbles newest victim. Starting with himself at an early age, each boy was privately “tutored” in the pastors church office until he reached an age when Dibble was no longer interested sexually. Knowing that the “baby” of the family was now being abused sent the older boy over the edge.
Apparently the family felt that they really had no recourse, that anything was better than what they’d endured in their old life in Cambodia. They had nowhere to turn, no one to turn to to prevent this.
When police raided the church office and tested with luminal for ‘human proteins’ there was no surface untouched – even walls.
Dibble’s sons fled to far off colleges, his wife rented a small farmhouse in town, and waited for his release two years later from prison.
I tell this because of its especially vile treatment of especially vulnerable family, fleeing one monster for another.
On an entirely brighter and different note: I so, so appreciate your courage and passion to share your knowledge.
You have changed my life already!